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From Tiny Acorns, Mighty Oaks. From Little Chords, Mighty Songs.

From Tiny Acorns, Mighty Oaks. From Little Chords, Mighty Songs.

From Tiny Acorns, Mighty Oaks.

From Little Chords, Mighty Songs.

No matter what your master plan is, just take it one twig at a time.

When I was a kid, my mom used to say, “From tiny acorns, mighty oaks.” She meant that small beginnings lead to great results over time.
The little acorn spends years and years reaching up into the sky for the light and down into the earth for the water before it becomes a mighty oak. But the acorn doesn’t feel intimidated by its potential–it just grows.
Lucky acorn!
You and I also have the potential to grow into a bigger version of ourselves. Unlike the acorn, sometimes we can be intimidated by our own potential greatness.
The acorn also doesn’t have to worry about whether to become an oak, or a spruce, or a pine, or an eagle or a stream. It just follows the oak plan.
But unlike the acorn, you and I have thousands of possible healthy paths for growth. Isn’t that incredible?
How about following the acorn plan, and just start growing a little bit at a time, starting today?
If it turns out later that you want to change direction, that is OK–because as long as you have been growing and reaching, you’ve been following YOUR “oak plan.”
What are you reaching for? What are you digging into?
One reason I love learning from others so much is that when I have faith in my path towards a goal, it releases me to just focus on mastering the little, day-to-day steps which will result in long term progress. I’ve followed all sorts of plans in music, in business, in parenting–and I notice that when I am just taking my plan one day at a time (or even one moment at a time) I feel the most joy and freedom in my work and I make the most progress towards my goals.
Here are a few ideas about plans that have helped me–and hundreds of my students over the years:
  • Have a plan! Make your own, or use somebody else’s plan! As you become more skilled and achieve deeper understanding in a topic you can adapt your approach, but in the meantime use the shortcut of a plan that worked well for somebody who wanted to do what you want to do.
  • Work your plan! Make small adjustments if needed, but once you know you have a good plan, give it time! Don’t change course easily.
  • For most guitar students, an excellent plan focuses on progressively mastering fundamentals in the context of songs, and will include at least one or two performance opportunities during a year. Almost any other excellent plan will also involve progressively mastering fundamentals with a few key steps or markers along the way.
Do you have a plan? Does your teacher have a plan? Good!
Now, don’t worry about the plan, just go to work!
Start stretching, little acorn!
On To Greatness,
Dan Emery
Founder, NYC Guitar School
P.S. When I came to New York City, I found out that my mom wasn’t the only one who talked about acorns and oaks. Next time you walk through Grand Central Station, look for the profusion of acorns and oak leaves in all the ornamental work; the family motto of the Vanderbilts, who financed Grand Central Station, was “Great Oaks from Tiny Acorns Grow”.

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Dan Emery is dedicated to Coaching Personal Greatness, One Lesson At A Time. He is the founder of NYC's friendliest and fastest growing guitar schools, New York City Guitar School, Brooklyn Guitar School, Queens Guitar School and NYC Guitar School, East, and the author of the Amazon best-selling Guitar For Absolute Beginners and six other books on learning guitar and deliberate practice. He coaches new entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator program and especially enjoys helping other Educational Entrepreneurs. He has a Masters in Education from Columbia University Teachers College, extensive performing experience as songwriter and guitarist for The Dan Emery Mystery Band, a wife, three kids, a cat and some juggling equipment.


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